This week, we here at Xcede wanted to bring you an insight into ‘Web analytics’ and what better way to do that then to speak to the ‘Head of Analytics’ at Accenture Interactive, John Wyllie.
John who has worked at Accenture Interactive for just under a year following over ten years within the industry, has a proven track record of developing new propositions and delivering growth through existing and new business. After completing a Masters in Computer Science John made the transition from “IT” to the “business” within an employer’s organisation. Coming from a very academic and technical background, John’s initial roles were in the “back-end” of data management and business information. He stated that at the time of his transition ‘Web Analytics’ was a space owned by “IT”, but not being used much by the business. Thus, through his transition as well as administering the technology he began to use the tools for the business on their behalf to provide analysis, “This then allowed me to come up with, and answer their questions!”
When defining web analytics, John describes how “analytics is all about answering interesting questions in order to work smarter – but answering the questions is the easy part – the hard part of analytics is to come up with the right question in the first place.”
According to John, “The “Web” in “Web analytics” is no longer necessary. For a long time now digital has become an integrated part of our lives. We no longer say “we bought a dishwasher online”, we simply say “we bought a dishwasher” – being online is implicit. To that end, I think the worlds of web analytics and CRM have now merged. It’s now about analysing the customer. And the customer just happens to spend a lot of his time online now.”
The ability to deliver a positive change on your business is a main factor that John would describe as a strong specialty within today’s market. “For me it’s all about the end result – unless the data and the analysis are being used to make a difference, it’s just academic. Using this to effect a positive change in a business is the hardest part.” The other difficulties that Web Analyst’s face within the industry is the ability to keep up with the ever evolving tools and technologies. John points out that “the scope of digital analytics today is too big for any single person to be an expert at all ends of the spectrum”. In particular he highlights that businesses within the market tend to miss the opportunity in combining online behavioral data with their offline data to drive outbound offline campaigns.
For someone looking for their first role and to get exposure to some of the enterprise tools can be challenging. Many within the market will agree with John when he says “It’s straightforward for anybody to learn about Google Analytics by implementing it on their own blog – but if an employer is looking for Site Catalyst skills, it’s hard for candidates to develop those skills unless they’re working for an organisation that’s licensing that product.”
A strong piece of advice that John would supply to anyone wanting to succeed within the market would be to “focus on the end result. Don’t get caught up in the bells and whistles of the latest technologies – as interesting as it is the primary goal is how this data and analysis can improve a business. Focus on how your analysis can effect a positive change in the business – that will give you the best stories to impress your next employer.”